Congenital heart defects are a malformation in one or more structures of the heart or veins that occur before a child is born or during the developmental stage of the fetus. The developmental defect can affect approximately around 8 childrenin every 1000 children. There are many types of congenital heart defects. Some congenital heart defects are minor and some are more serious. Various defects can occur inside the heart or in the large blood vessels which is outside the heart. Some congenital heart defects require surgery immediately after the child is born and in many cases, the surgery can be performed after months or years.
There are several different types of congenital heart defects. Only one surgery may not be enough to repair the congenital heart defect, sometimes a series of procedures are required.
Mainly there are three different techniques for treating congenital heart defects in the children are described below:-
Open-heart surgery is performed under general anesthesia. In open-heart surgery, the surgeon uses a heart-lung bypass machine. In this type of procedure, an incision is made through the breastbone. Tubes are used to re-route the blood. Heart-lung bypass machine is a special pump that re-routes the blood. This machine adds oxygen and maintains the flow of blood to the rest of the body. This machine also allows the heart to be stopped for a certain period of time. By stopping the heart, the surgeon repairs the heart muscle, blood vessels outside the heart or the heart valves. After the repair is done, the heart is restarted again, and the machine is removed. The incision is then closed.
In closed heart or thoracotomy, the congenital heart defects are treated by making an incision on the side of the chest or between the ribs.
Another way to fix congenital heart defects is to insert small tubes into an artery in the leg and pass them up to the heart. Only some type of congenital heart defects can be repaired this way.
While performing pediatric cardiac surgery, some complications can arise. Following are some of the complications:-
Before the Procedure
Prior to the pediatric cardiac surgery, the pediatric surgeon will perform several tests such as:-
After the Procedure
Children who undergo an open-heart surgery need to stay in the intensive care unit for 2 to 4 days right after surgery. After the surgery, the child has one or two chest tube attached to drain air, blood, and fluid from the chest cavity. Post-surgery many electrical lines and tubes are used to monitor the child. The child will be encouraged to start many of their regular daily activities. Children's normally start eating or drinking on their own within 1 or 2 days, but some children's may take much longer. Post-surgery the child may need several weeks to recover.
A follow-up visit with a pediatric cardiologist is necessary after every 6 to 12 months.
The outcome of pediatric cardiac surgery depends on the child's condition, the type of congenital defect the child is suffering from, and the type of surgery that was performed. Many children recover completely and lead a normal active life.
In India, the pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons work with the pediatric cardiologists, child life specialists, pediatric intensivists, anesthesiologists, and a wide group of affiliated professionals to provide the best quality of care to the child. Pediatric cardiac surgeries are performed with the leading-edge operative techniques and research in India.
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